Three tourists have died, and over 40 are injured after a tourist bus carrying 50 passengers crashed on Thursday morning in Bávaro, near Punta Cana. The accident has prompted authorities to tackle road safety in the popular resort town, where tourist busses transport people from hotels to famous seaside attractions.
Three tourists died on the scene after the collision took place. Police have identified the victims as Karla Rodriguez Dionisio, a Peruvian of 33 years, and Valeria Victoria Brolvelli, a 41-year-old Argentinian. On Friday, a third tourist, Argentinian Valeria Paola Medina, also lost her life following the accident. 14 people sustained severe injuries as a result of the accident but are reported in stable condition as of Sunday.
The crash occurred on Thursday morning near Punta Cana when a tourist bus carrying dozens of passengers from several countries veered out of control when trying to avoid an obstacle and crashed near the highway in the town of Verón. Authorities have launched an investigation into the deadly accident, and Dominican President Luis Abinader has lamented the tragedy, calling for the matter to be taken seriously.
Ambulances and first responders rushed to the scene after being alerted to the accident and transported the injured passengers to nearby private medical centers in Punta Cana and Bávaro. Despite nearly all passengers suffering injuries, doctors say that the occupants are now in stable condition and are expected to make a full recovery in the coming days.
The passengers of the bus came from at least 6 different South American countries, including Brasil and Colombia. The tourists were on their way to the province of La Romana, from where they were supposed to hop on a boat to Saona island, the country’s most visited island.
Officials from the Dominican Republic road safety agency (Digesett) have now begun a preliminary investigation concerning the accident, as well as what may have led to it. The country’s tourism minister, David Collado, has expressed his solidarity with the injured passengers: “we visited different hospitals to offer our complete support in this difficult moment,” the minister said in a statement.
Some passengers have disputed the initial official report given by local officials, according to which the accident occurred after the driver attempted to avoid a road obstacle. A Chilean tourist recalls how the bus was turning on a curve well in excess of the speed limit when the accident occurred.
Others have stated that the bus was in bad condition and was carrying more people than legally permissible. The vehicle, a Volkswagen, was operated by a local tour company, Suero Service Rus, SRL.
In the meanwhile, both tourists and tourism organizations have shared their concerns over tourist bus drivers, who they say regularly speed and drive haphazardly. With the Dominican Republic attracting more and more tourists, road safety remains a major issue among visitors.
The bus driver now faces harsh legal sanctions over his potential responsibility in the collision, and the tour company is also set to face scrutiny from the country’s general attorney.
The tragic accident is not the first of its kind in the popular Punta Cana area, and road accidents are common throughout the country. The United States has warned visitors about inadequate driving conditions in the country, urging travelers to remain cautious while on the road.
Only a few days prior to the fatal crash, the Dominican Republic reported a record-breaking month for international arrivals in September, when more than 430,000 visitors flocked to the tropical island.
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